South Whidbey Fire/EMS is issuing Limited Tax General Obligation Bonds to pay the costs of constructing and equipping a new replacement fire station on its Bayview property. As part of the process, the district’s staff presented information to the national rating agency of S&P Global Ratings.
According to Fire Chief H.L. “Rusty” Palmer, “We are very pleased to receive a rating grade of “AA” from S&P. This is a great accomplishment for the District and our citizens! A rating grade in the AA range is considered high quality. This is the first time that the District has pursued a public bond rating grade. This reflects the hard work by our Commissioners and District staff.”
“This bond rating grade reflects that the District is very well-managed and has excellent financial policies and practices in place for the benefit of our citizens, ” said Fire Commission Chair Kenon Simmons. “The higher the rating grade, then the lower the interest cost. We are very pleased and proud to achieve the AA rating grade.”
Chief Palmer explained that the AA bond rating grade was based on a number of key factors: 1. Demonstrated track record of strong fund balances in the Current Expense Fund; 2. Strength of the local economy; 3. Growth in assessed value; 4. Updated Financial Management Policy; and 5. Experienced management in operating the District in an efficient manner.
As part of the rating process, District staff prepared for a presentation to S&P Global Ratings. The presentation team was comprised of: Fire Chief Palmer, Deputy Chiefs Jon Beck and Mike Cotton, Finance Officer Kay Cope, and Bond Underwriter Jim Nelson of D.A. Davidson & Co. The team presented information and answered questions that dealt with the topics of management, finances, local economy and long-term planning. The Limited Tax General Obligation Bonds were underwritten by D.A. Davidson & Co., Trading and Public Finance Office in Seattle.